The Gaines Heavy Duty Double Bass Wheel is clearly superior among endpin wheels, with its fully pneumatic, adjustable, and replaceable tubed tire.
The Gaines Heavy Duty Bass Wheel is at the top of the heap when you analyze the bass wheels available. This is a true eight inch tire, fully pneumatic with an innertube - the best way to absorb the shock of the road rather than transmit them to your valuable instrument.
A plated steel yoke has a receiver for the shaft size perfect for your bass' endpin, and they can be easily changed, so it is possible to economically own one wheel for use with multiple instruments, or obtain a new pin to fit your new bass or upgraded endpin.
NO SWIVEL WHEEL
Wheel direction can be adjusted to your preferred orientation. The shaft has a flat side; using the allen set screw (wrench supplied), you align the shaft's position so it is against the tightening set screw in your endpin receiver, preventing it from rotating. Why is this good? If it rotated, you would have no control while rolling the bass!
The innertube has a conventional fitting for adding air using a common hand pump. This also allows for custom wheel cushioning, lower pressure if bumps are the order of the day, or higher pressure if you're running on the street! The wheel itself has heavy duty ball bearings, and the whole assembly is made of top quality hardware. Spare parts are readily available, and Cluster Research, the Gaines manufacturer, offers a lifetime warranty on all the metal parts. They are tops in customer service and can usually offer a loaner wheel if necessary.
FYI, I also carry an inexpensive "solid" bass wheel; it is not pneumatic, but is made of a soft rubber compound and is suitable for laminated basses. However, it is also a smaller wheel and certainly no competition to the Gaines shown here, but fine for most laminated basses like my old Kay.
Choose the endpin shaft size carefully! — A caliper or similar precision measure should be taken to ensure the proper size endpin shaft. Just for your information, 10mm is by far the most common size, for most endpins- be cautious when specifying 3/8" as it is only slightly smaller than 10mm, and it is important to use the correct size. The next most common size is 8mm, then 16mm (5/8"), 1/2" and 3/8".
- Does your endpin collar have the most common set screw configuration? Our own endpins shown here are the usual type, using a set screw tightened into the side of the collar. If yours is one of the new "wrap-around" style endpin collar, the Gaines shafts are not compatible, as there is no means to keep the shaft from spinning inside the receiver (which means it could slip unexpectedly and make your bass go "thunk!" Not good.)
- The endpin shaft MUST be measured accurately! It's important to have the correct size to avoid damaging your endpin receiver - that's a costly replacement!
- Okay then, how do I measure? The best way is with a caliper (see example at right), which allows you to accurately measure the diameter of your existing shaft. If you don't have one, a handful of standard and metric open-end wrenches can act as a gauge - use the wrenches in the various available shaft sizes to determine which one exactly fits the pin diameter. Don't have those, either? Get a piece of stiff cardstock or cardboard, and cut a notch in it. Continue to slightly widen that slot until the endpin fits perfectly - then measure the gap. Do the measurement with both inches and millimeters; as you can see, shafts are available in both metric and SAE (inches) sizes, and some of the sizes are very close.
- I don't have a metric (or SAE) ruler - now what? You can do a web search (Google, Bing, etc.) for a printable ruler that might help.
- What if my endpin shaft won't come out?? Some endpins have a pin stop that prevents the shaft from being removed from the bass. In most cases you can shove the pin into the bass, retrieve it through the f-hole, and remove the crossbar or other piece that is preventing removal.
Finally, a quick and off-the-wall note... I was once asked about the stability of playing with the wheel still in the bass. The player said he went to jams in a campground where he would wheel his bass from bluegrass circle to circle. My suggestion was that he buy an appropriately sized plastic dog water bowl and toss that on the ground, to hold the wheel in place, when he got where he was going. So far three people I've told this have gone out and done so, successfully, so I thought I'd pass the tip on.
Need to figure out some of the more in-depth features of this product? Here's a copy of the manual, in PDF format, here.
You may wish to visit the manufacturer's website to see if a more recent version is available.
I've been using Gaines wheels since I got my own bass when I was in high school. The time came to buy a new one, and it feels even more robust than my first one. Looking forward to many years and gigs' worth of use!
So, so, so glad I got this Gaines wheel. Wow, it came in two days -- JUST in time for an evening performance that required LOTS of walking. Life is a LOT easier. Why didn't I do this sooner? Thanks for stocking such a quality product, and for getting it out to me so quickly!